Volunteering and Tourism

A growing evidence base has consistently highlighted the negative impact on children of living in institutional care such as orphanages – especially when parents or close family members are still living nearby. The increasing trend in volunteering in or visiting these facilities compounds the issue and the impact on children. Not only does it encourage the expansion of orphanages, but it also makes children vulnerable to abuse in those areas where regulation is lax, creates attachment problems in children who become attached to short-term visitors, and can heighten the risk for unregulated inter-country adoption by well-intentioned volunteers who form a bond with a child and want to take them home.

This section highlights resources focused on international volunteering, tourism, and donations in residential care centres.

Displaying 1 - 10 of 110

Amanda R. Hiles Howard, Megan Roberts, Jacqueline N. Gustafson & Nicole Gilbertson Wilke - Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment,

The goal of the present study was to provide data on pre-trip preparation, in-country activities, and how these impacted volunteer perceptions of preparation and trip satisfaction for volunteers working with vulnerable children, including those in residential care (ex. orphanages).

Amanda Miller & Harriot Beazley - Children's Geographies,

This paper examines the lived experiences of children who interacted with tourists in a performance-based orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Martin Punaks and Samjyor Lama - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond,

This article compares and contrasts two humanitarian emergencies and their impact on Nepal: these are the Nepal earthquake in 2015 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Esther Bott - Annals of Tourism Research,

This article draws on original empirical data to explore the narratives of young Nepali adults who lived in Kathmandu orphanages as children. Through these narratives, the article explores the diverse complexities of the residents' experiences of volunteer tourism and NGO ‘rescue’, and the shortcomings of recent ‘neoabolitionist’ frameworks.

Marinus van IJzendoorn,

This presentation - delivered by Marinus van IJzendoorn at a 18 November 2020 meeting of the Evidence for Impact Working Group, a working group of the recently launched Transforming Children's Care Global Collaborative Platform - presents evidence of the harmful impacts of institutionalization on children, demonstrates some of the benefits of deinstitutionalization for getting children back on track, and raises questions about gap-year volunteers working in orphanages.

Alternative Care Thailand,

This animated video from Alternative Care Thailand tells the story of a boy in Thailand who is sent to live in an orphanage because his mother feels she is unable to care for him at home, his experiences with volunteers once he arrives at the orphanage, and how the orphanage transitioned to supporting children to live in families.

Kathryn E. van Doore - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond,

This article traces the evolution of the recognition of orphanage trafficking broadly, and then focusses on recommendations made by the Australian government following the release of its 2017 Hidden in Plain Sight Report.

ECPAT International,

This briefing paper has been compiled using information included in the Out of the Shadows Index - which measures a country’s response to child sexual exploitation and abuse - and the ECPAT Country Overview for Nepal. The brief highlights the risk of sexual exploitation resulting from voluntourism practices, including volunteering in or visiting orphanages.

Madison Bingle - American University Washington College of Law Human Rights Brief,

This column from Volume 23 of the American University Washington College of Law Human Rights Brief explores the links between child abuse in Cambodian orphanages and tourism.

ReThink Orphanages Australia and the ACFID Child Rights Community of Practice,

This briefing note was developed by ReThink Orphanages Australia and the ACFID Child Rights Community of Practice to assist entities in Australia and abroad who have orphanages in their supply chains and/or operations to understand the implications of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018.